The 2018 NBA Draft is rapidly approaching and the Atlanta Hawks are one of the most interesting teams in the league as a result. Travis Schlenk has four picks to work with on Thursday evening but, in addition to the various machinations involved with draft-day trades and dozens of prospects to evaluate, there is now buzz that the Hawks are actively engaged in trade discussions involving current players.
First, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated, as part of a mock draft on Tuesday, revealed that the Hawks have made point guard Dennis Schroder available in trade.
The situation is complicated by Dennis Schröder, who the team has made available in trade talks, according to league sources. He has been difficult for the Hawks to deal due to concerns about his attitude and the $46 million remaining on his contract through 2021. Perhaps packaging their other draft picks could help convince a team to take Schröder, given he’s just 24. But keeping him on board and also selecting Young would effectively kill Atlanta’s leverage, and make it that much harder to secure a passable return.
It comes as absolutely no surprise that Schroder would be on the trading block, given his sizable contract and off-season comments concerning a potential deal. He brings an intriguing skill set to the table but, in the same breath, Schroder struggled mightily on the defensive end (and with his three-point accuracy) last season and his current contract was signed before the current front office regime took over in Atlanta. Still, it is noteworthy to suggest that he is actively “available” at this juncture, especially given the team’s reported interest in point guard Trae Young and the potential difficulty in moving a contract of Schroder’s size at this juncture.
In follow-up to Woo’s reporting, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated then noted that Kent Bazemore is also on the market and the Hawks are “motivated” to move him.
The Hawks have also been motivated to move Kent Bazemore dating back to last summer, league sources say. Atlanta is currently considered the most active team on the explorative draft trade market. https://t.co/RmEcpQCniP— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 19, 2018
While Bazemore’s contract is not a positive asset, it makes less sense to actively pursue a trade involving him at this stage. Given that the Hawks are not in a position to command a top-of-the-market free agent in pursuit of “winning now,” Bazemore’s deal (one year shorter than Schroder’s contract) is less onerous than it would be elsewhere. In addition, he was arguably the team’s best player last season and, as a versatile wing, Bazemore’s game fits well alongside many players and his leadership has been lauded during Atlanta’s rebuild.
If the perfect deal arose, the Hawks certainly would have to explore moving Bazemore but the reported urgency level to do so, especially when compared to Schroder, would be odd. Schroder is certainly a more productive player in the box score but, from a team-building perspective, it is much harder to operate with his skill set at the point guard spot than it is with Bazemore on the wing and, beyond that, Bazemore has apparently been a model citizen in captaining the rebuild, while Schroder has publicly expressed at least a thought bubble of attempting to leave Atlanta.
At this stage, it isn’t shocking or even surprising to see Schroder’s name in trade discussions (even if difficult to move him with a pending legal issue) and the same could be said for Bazemore, simply because his production is unlikely to ever outweigh a contract signed during the legendary summer of 2016. Still, it will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming hours, as Bazemore’s name has faded from the consciousness with regard to trade pursuits, while Schroder’s name has been at the forefront for some time.